Coming from out in left field, I really didn’t know what to expect from this album, as I had only familiarized myself with one Neurosis album in the past. Neurosis puts a continually crackling and haunting backdrop for Jarboe, who takes up eir’s role as the typical female-goth vocalist. While the disc might be a little daunting, containing only eight tracks for a total running time of about sixty moinutes, the tracks go by much faster than their running time of seven-and-a-half minutes. Each subsequent track, from “Receive” to “Erase”, gain in intensity, whether it be Jarboe or the rest of Neurosis. “Erase” is interesting – the most accessible track on the disc, the tortured vocals of Jarboe go along well with the heavily-distorted guitars and rough drumming of Neurosis. Slowly going into a more introspective section, “Erase” goes hurtling further out of control with Jarboe’s pleas of “Defy Me.”
Mixing the industrial sounds of Neurosis with the darkwave and ethereal leanings of Jarboe, this disc really isn’t as accessible as some of Neurosis’ other albums, at times even gaining something in the way of radio sensibilities. Whatever terms an individual gives to the music on this disc, one key term needs to come into play: harmony. The soundscape of over-computerized drums in “Cringe” is the perfect example, as these beats are modified in such a way and insinuated with a drone that makes the entire track seem like a musical map. Each track on this album is more than one traditional track, but rather something nodding more to classical music than anything – fading out, there are different moods and tempos in-song that don’t seem to work as anything but their own tracks.
Overall, Neurosis & Jarboe manage to put together a very solid album that while not being a pinnacle of inventiveness, still work well within the confines of what is called industrial music. Jarboe’s voice is the perfect contrast to the music that Neurosis plays; in tracks like “In Harm’s Way”, eir heavenly voice along with the plodding beat of the accompaniment really sets up a aural dichotomy of things – what Neurosis is openly playing, Jarboe is concealing with an utterly innocent set of vocals. Lyrics of this track, such as “I’d give my life, if your life is saved / I did it for you” really allow the audience to see both Neurosis and Jarboe to be, in fact, the same entity during the song.
Top Track: Erase
Neurosis & Jarboe – Self-Titled / 8 Tracks / 2003 Neurot Recordings / http://www.neurosis.com / http://www.neurotrecordings.com / Reviewed 29 January 2004